Book Review

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Historical Fantasy
Length: 388 pages
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

WENT IN NERVOUS, WALKED OUT HAPPY.

I feel like the hype for this book was ALL OVER THE PLACE. I couldn’t scroll down my Instagram feed without seeing a photo and hearing about the hype. And because of that I instead let myself sit on it for a few months. Then, my library got a digital copy, nobody had it checked out so I gave it a chance. This turned out sooo much better than I thought and I found myself really loving it overall.

I was enraptured from the beginning with the historical aspects of everything. I LOVE HISTORICAL FANTASIES. It combines my two favorite genres into spell-binding stories. The setting was (Paris – 1889) unique from most books I’ve read. A lot of research went into this. So much research that at times I felt it was a bit dense. I couldn’t wrap my head around all of the mathematics problems throughout. The historical pieces were easy to follow, but hard to grasp all together. There was an intense amount of information thrown at you about how the world worked. It was substantially more than I bargained for which is why I settled on four stars. I didn’t think it needed everything it presented to still be stellar. Even more so, I still have no idea how the magic system fully works.

With all of those complications the way it was woven it was really cool. I was amazed at how the characters, organizations, and the world itself were put together. So while a bit of an enigma, also super fascinating and impressive. This was my first Chokshi book and I’m glad this was the one I picked up!

The characters though, what an amazing, diverse, witty group. I was nervous going in having heard that it’s similar to Leigh Bardugo’s, Six of Crows. Yes, the similarities are there, but each member of this family is vastly different. The representation in this book was incredible! It made the book stand out [in the best way]. I intensely loved watching all of their interactions with each other. This book was focused more on the heist and these friendships rather than relationships (but don’t you worry, some of that is in there too!). Fantastic banter that would make me smile and moments where I wanted to hug everyone brought this home for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, some tension, & remembering some dalliances
  • Violence: poison, physical, mental (through magic)
  • Trigger warnings: bullying, racism, child abuse

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Book Series That NEED to Be a Movie (Page to Screen Freebie)

We live in an amazing day and age where CGI is actually worth our time. The technology advances towards movies has jumped leaps and bounds.

That’s why I declare that these ten series (or standalone) NEED TO BE A MOVIE. As someone who doesn’t watch movies (no really, my husband is amazed at how often I will watch a movie — which is to say, once every 6 months, at least) I put a lot of stock in choosing ones worth my time.

THESE WOULD BE WORTH MY TIME. If they were exactly. like. the. book.

Okay, let’s get started. Happy Top Ten Tuesday y’all!

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas


Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas


Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber


Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson


Arc of a Scythe Series by Neal Shusterman

Final book, The Toll, coming soon.


The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Final book, The Empire of Gold, coming 2020.


Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden


Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Have you read any of these? Which do you think should be a movie too? Lets talk in the comments. Happy Tuesday!

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Book Tag

Book Tag Saturday: Night and Day Tag

I wasn’t formally tagged in this, but I found it on Kristin’s Site (Kristin Kraves Books) and thought it would be fun to do for this week! I love her page, definitely make sure you’re following her!

Hope you enjoy the answers. Have a great weekend!

Do you read more in the morning or at night?

Lately it’s been at night. After the babe (+my husband) have gone to bed I snuggle in for a few hours and read whatever book I’m currently reading.

Are there any books that changed the way you thought about things?

Oh, I feel like every other book I read does that to me. For instance, I finished The Simple Wild last night (or a few nights ago at the posting of this tag) and it made me consider a lot about my relationships with my loved ones. It doesn’t have to be non-fiction to cause a change in thought. But I’ve ready plenty of non-fiction (i.e. When Breath Becomes Air) that also has changed my thoughts about life.

YA or not?

ALL DAY. That’s what I mostly read. I don’t think anyone is too old to enjoy a good story, regardless of it’s “target audience.” I love reading YA and I will do so for the foreseeable future.

Are there characters that you honestly believe are real?

Not really. Are there characters I wish that were real? DEFINITELY. Especially in fantasy. But I’m also very aware that we don’t have *that* kind of magic happening in the real world.

In contemporaries and such, I don’t necessarily believe the characters are real. Though, since it is real life I can better believe that something like that could happen.

Nobody touches my books or I don’t mind loaning my books out?

Loan them to everyone (mostly). I actually have a few right now that are out with friends. it makes my heart unbelievably happy when a friend asks if they can borrow a book. OF COURSE YOU CAN. It’s like letting them take a tiny piece of my bookish soul.

Do you ever smell your books?

Eh, no. If I open a box and the scent wafts out, sure. But I don’t go up to my books and sniff them.

Not everyone loves books…is this a positive or negative?

Positive! I do secretly believe that there is a book for everyone, buuuut I know not everyone likes reading. AND THAT’S OKAY. Different interests and passions are what keeps ideas flowing in the universe.

Gosh, I have too many books! True or False?

False. I know I have around 300 books, but honestly it hasn’t grown much since 2016. I really dialed back how much I buy and y’all. Have you seen bookstgram? Some of those shelves have close to 1,000 books and I’m sitting here stunned by that fact. I think I would be overwhelmed if I had *that many*.

Have you ever spilled or stained books before with something, if so how?

With water, usually a few drops. I can’t remember the last time I full-on damaged a book though. *crosses fingers* I SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID THAT.

Toned or untoned? In other words, do you read and workout at the same time?

I do! If I’m on a cardio machine I will bring my book (in whatever format) and read while I’m running, biking, etc. I love how quickly it passes the time. I’ll listen to an audiobook occasionally as well, but when I lift I usually need a song to power through.

Since I wasn’t formally tagged, I’m not tagging anyone. So feel free to do this (and tag me in your answers if you’d like too!). What are some of your answers to these questions? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1) by Mary Weber

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 333 pages
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

CONFUSED BY MY THOUGHTS.

I have left this review sitting around for about a week now because I couldn’t decide if it worse or better than I thought. I will say this book got better the further I got into it, but also, why does someone want to wait 200 pages to enjoy a book?

I appreciated the way Nym and Eogan’s (Wow, I don’t like that name) relationship built. There was a bit of an enemies to lovers piece. I was freaked out there was a love triangle flying in, but NEVER FEAR, it was nothing. The bugger from Nym though was that she could not stop talking about how attractive he was. I hate when this is repetitively added to books. They’re more things to think about Nym!

Speaking of no love triangle, Nym’s’ friendship with Colin was stellar. I was practically more invested in that at times. They were a fun pair to watch and had great banter and chemistry (friendistry).

One thing I could not wrap my head around was how the girl with all the powers (and she really could destroy a place) was the one not destroying all those who sought to control her!? I guess I was looking for a bada** type, but got a lackluster I don’t want to be used as a weapon character. You don’t have to be a weapon Nym, OWN THE ELEMENTAL POWER.

There were rotating villains in here, but Adora was the worst of all (not in a good way). I found her silly outfits laughable and her whole demeanor a farce. The real wickedness didn’t show up til the last few chapters and that’s the leg this series needs to stand on.

I missed all of the world-building and politicking I’m used to reading in fantasy. For instance, there were multiple animals in here and I couldn’t tell you what they actually looked like. Nothing was ever described enough to paint a picture. And all of the politics were behind closed doors where Nym never bothered to listen to. This made a lot of decisions by other characters seem empty.

I will say, there was a solid plot twist or two at the end. Where I even wrote in my notes: HOLY PLOT TWIST BATMAN. Reading like every other YA fantasy book left me begging for from the story. That ending has me debating picking up book two though. I’ll keep you posted.

Overall audience notes:

  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, physical, magical
  • Trigger warnings: slavery

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Book Review

Book Review: The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy/Romance
Length: 344 pages
Author: Erin Beaty
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: May 9th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

OKAY. THIS BOOK WAS MADE FOR ME.

Yes, I firmly believe this book was written for me, so if by the end of this review you aren’t feeling it. THAT’S COOL. I’LL BE FINE (but seriously if it’s up your alley you should read it and gush with me).

This is a love story with other components surrounding it. Definitely reminded me of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson (which I absolutely adore). The plot flowed from action, to new locations, to one heck of an epic battle scene at the end. EPIC.

My angst filled romance between the two main characters WAS EVERYTHING. This didn’t start out as enemies to lovers. It was more who are you to lovers. BUT NEVER FEAR. There was banter, some hate vibes (which created the angst I previously mentioned) and plenty of sweet, precious moments.

My dearest Sage. Girl is stubborn, rash, strong-willed, and independent. I love that she hung with the men and wanted to DO something rather than sit on the sidelines. Even better, our lovely military escort allowed her too. NO HOLDING HER BACK. What I appreciated most was when she found out some information (that of course, as a reader, I already knew) that she responded in a matter that made sense. Sage was angry, yes, but also was able to listen and understand why things were done in such a way. It made me love her character even more.

Don’t even get me started on our male POV — yes keeping his name out. It’s more fun this way, TRUST ME. Y’all he was so swoon-worthy. He’s a new addition to my ever growing book boyfriend list. His final battle scene had me cheering. YOU TAKE DOWN THE DUKE. I loved getting to know him on many levels and watching this love story grow.

There was even one part that brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t think it would happen. I appreciate this in authors though because sometimes, crap has to happen. And that’s okay, even if it pulls at all my heart strings.

Funny tidbit: the opening scenes are straight out of Mulan (the matchmaker scene). Not sure if it was actually inspired by that, but it brought Mulan to mind and I thought it was humorous.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, and make-outs
  • Violence: Knives, poison, physical, arrows, battle scenes (+gore), mentions of torture
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (a random soldier in front of male POV), domestic abuse + miscarriage (mentioned that it occurred to a character not in book), sexual assault (unwanted grab of backside & kiss to female POV)

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Book Review

Book Review: The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Young adult historical fantasy
Length: 378 pages
Author: Elizabeth May
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read. 

FAE. FAE. AND MORE FAE.

I’m really into anything with faeries y’all. I don’t know why. Maybe all that mystical-ness and gorgeous selves makes me have to pick it up. Either way, that’s my original intention when I grabbed this at the library.

This was fun! I wouldn’t say I thought it was spectacular, but it did get better and better as I went along. I loved the vibe of the world the author built. It was historical 1844 Edinburgh, but with a steampunk aesthetic. They had little devices to dispense tea/punch, others to create stitches and even a version of a helicopter.

Hot dang, I was almost upset about a love triangle, at present, there is none! And therefore, I can be alllll over Kiaran and Aileana. This is definitely a slow burn romance. I’m loving their banter and affinity towards each other.

They’re a lot of typical aspects to this novel. A fierce, warrior fae who’s handsome and brooding. The girl who’s in society, but secretly is a chosen-one type to help save the lands. She’s fueled by the death of her mother, etc. While this was a little eh, the different influences of everything else made this book worth the read.

A lot of secrets were left out for the next book. It was often chalked up to the fae “not answering” because they can’t lie kinda thing. I’m intrigued and interested because it seems each book is stronger than the previous. This is great, standard YA that I love to read.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fantasy
  • Language: damn is used often, but that’s it
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: knives, explosions, a bit gory physical, faerie magic, guns
Book Review

Book Review: Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopia
Length: 352 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The gripping fifth installment in the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shatter Me series. Will Juliette’s broken heart make her vulnerable to the strengthening darkness within her?

Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.

Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.

I LOVED THIS.

Note: May be very mild spoilers (mostly who ends up with who) if you haven’t read any of the Shatter Me series. No spoilers about anything else except for some name changes.

I have been waiting for this book for a year. And it was not a let down. YAYAY. I will admit that it read more like a novella (not that I’m complaining – just an observation).

The entire book is essentially a rescue mission. Our three POVs consist of Juliette (further known as Ella) remembering things, escaping, getting to Warner (further known as Aaron). Then, Aaron: remembering, escaping, and finding Ella. Lastly, Kenji discovering all the information E&A are remembering, trying to find them, and then getting them to the next location. So you see, a lot of overlap and lack of big plot movement. This was more dedicated to character development and a lot of information dumping. I know this will divide the camp on who likes this book, but personally, I was into it.

But what DID happen, were these precious little moments of life. Those small and inconsequential things that make my heart smile most. There were empowering moments of Ella realizing her strength and courage. Moments of Aaron harnessing his darkness to find what really matters most. Watching the loving moments between the two and getting to soak up a bit of light before darkness descends.

Characters

Ella. I didn’t see as much of her as I would like, but I loved watching her character evolve. She learned a lot from those around her and being able to really know who she is. I think she’ll really be back at the forefront come book six.

“Aaron Warner Anderson is the only emotional through line in my life that ever made sense. He’s the only constant. The only steady, reliable heartbeat I’ve ever had.”

Aaron. Y’ALL. I LOVE HIM. I FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM. I seriously could not handle his sweet, battered soul. Getting a lot more of his back story destroyed me. Because I’m an absolute sucker for love, these were my favorite parts. Watching him with Ella, calling her love and sweetheart. I could go on and on. I love darkened, cinnamon roll characters. He took the parts he was always afraid to show and gave them to Ella and I melted.

“And up until just this moment, I don’t think I was ever truly convinced anyone would see me as human enough to forgive my sins. To give me a second chance.”

Side-ish thing: I love when couples are together before the series is over. Sometimes the entire series focuses on a pair, just getting together. While I think it’s even better when they are together and take on what comes their way. You can be with someone and still be independent and a force on your own. So I hope this remains the theme for the last book.

Kenji. Totally obsessed with him. He is sassy, loyal, witty, and has the best dialogue. I love that we got more POV with him. His vibe with Nazeera is something I am here for. She really grew on me in this book and I liked her presence.

“Thank you for appreciating my face. I’ve always thought I had an underappreciated face.”

There are a lot of loose ends by the last page. I’m totally fine with it because we still have one more book to go. We met some new characters that will be back. Some characters got what they deserved (and others ARE STILL WAITING THEIR IMMINENT DEMISE). Luckily, this book didn’t end on a dramatic cliff-hanger. It was a lovely, quiet moment where I can peacefully wait for the fate of Ella, Aaron, Kenji and their friends.

“Today is not forever. Happiness does not happen. Happiness must be uncovered, separated from skin of pain. It must be claimed. Kept close. Protected.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: a bit (mostly Kenji, haha)
  • Romance: some kisses, a lightly detailed love scene
  • Violence: guns, physical, torture (and memories of torture)
  • Trigger warnings: child abuse (in the severest forms)

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